Giants add veteran outfielder Matt Joyce

first_imgCLICK HERE if you are having a problem viewing the photos on a mobile deviceSCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Even with only days left in camp, the Giants still haven’t settled their position battle in the outfield.On Wednesday, the team announced it added to its depth at the position, signing veteran Matt Joyce to a minor-league deal after he was released earlier in the week by the Cleveland Indians. The move gives manager Bruce Bochy one more new face to test out before the Giants’ Cactus League finale on …last_img read more

‘Robo-cop’ patrols Chinese airport

first_imgTerrorists in China are facing a new nemesis with a cattle-prod wielding “robo-cop’’ now patrolling Shenzen Boa’am International Airport in the southern province of Guangdong.The intelligent robot, which is decorated with an impressive police shield and is eerily reminiscent of the Daleks in the BBC science fiction series Dr Who, is the first  in China to be trained to carry out security checks. It began patrolling the airport’s Terminal 3 last month on a round-the-clock basis.More of the security robots, developed in conjunction with the Shenzen Public Security Bureau and the National University of Defense Technology, have been deployed to patrol ports in China’s southern Guangdong Province.The 4.9ft (1.5m)  robot sports four high-definition cameras and face recognition technology that can detect suspicious characters and raise an alarm if a suspect is detected.Images are passed along to back-room security stations where they are analysed by officials.The robot can recharge itself without human intervention and has a video screen to allow it to communicate with civilians or police officers. It can listen, speak and respond to questions in 28 languages and dialects, including questions about flight information.When confronted by an emergency, the robot has a top speed of  more than 11pmh (18kmh) and can surprise miscreants with sound and light as well as an extendable prod described as  “an electric riot fork’’. However, it will be up to one of the back-room humans to decide whether to deploy the electrical stun weapon.The use of intelligent security robots would ease pressure on airport police in their daily patrols and save human resources, an official told China.org.cnlast_img read more

The growth of fish farming in South Africa

first_imgAquaculture presents South Africa with a more sustainable way of harvesting fish. The World Wildlife Fund of South Africa says our seas are overexploited. (Image: Industrial Development Corporation)• Centre studies South Africa’s oceans• Safer seas for Port Elizabeth’s marine life• Can Africa lead the way to a sustainable future?• South African consumers help rebuild fish stocks• Sea life explained for young explorersShamin ChibbaIt was a cool and windy spring afternoon in East London when the executive director of the Oceanwise fish farm, Liam Ryan, met Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) officials outside his office. As he led them to a nearby tank facility, his white overcoat flapped relentlessly in the gust coming in from the shores of Leaches Bay.“We are farming kabeljou on land,” he yelled into the wind. “It’s been green-listed by WWF-SASSI [Worldwide Fund for Nature-Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative] because our impact on the ocean and the species is minimal. We only used a handful of parent kob from the sea. Also, the sea water is used sparingly; 90% of it is recycled.”October is National Marine Month and one of the main focuses during the month is on finding more sustainable ways of harvesting seafood. Ryan said aquaculture was that solution. It is, perhaps, South Africa’s cure to over-exploitation of its waters.Oceanwise is located in the East London Industrial Development Zone and is a pioneer in South African aquaculture. It specialises in harvesting kabeljou, otherwise known as kob, and supplies major retailers such as Pick n Pay, Woolworths and Food Lovers Market. Oceanwise’s kabeljou is green-listed on the SASSI list, which means it is legal to buy. Wild caught kabeljou are protected and the WWF-SA discourages consumers from buying them. All of the 900 000 fish at the farm are descendants of 20 parent kob that came from the Sunday’s River area in Eastern Cape, just 40 kilometres east of Port Elizabeth.For each year of its pilot research, between 2004 and 2008, Oceanwise produced 400 000 fingerlings from those parents. Not only did it prove the venture would be profitable, but it also proved that aquaculture would significantly reduce the impact on marine life along South Africa’s shores.Oceanwise started farming in 2009. It was a slow process at first, with its first fish only reaching the market in 2011. “It had to be built up because it takes about five months to get to about 150 grams and about a year for full growth,” Ryan explained. Five years later, the farm produces as much as 25 tonnes of kabeljou for consumption every month. Innovative fish farming for less privilegedA Cape Town company is using fish farming to feed and empower the less privileged by providing them with fully functional fish farms made out of shipping containers.Alan Fleming, director of The Business Place, an entrepreneur development and assistance organisation in Philippi, Cape Town, designed the farm last year and describes it as “profitable, affordable, repeatable, transportable, lockable and stackable”. He said it was designed to provide a cash-poor collective or poorer urban families with an income and high quality protein right where they lived at an affordable price. The space required for the container was minimal, and it could operate on energy obtained from solar power.“I’m working with taking the operational expense of electricity out of the equation, and dumping into it a capital expenditure item of renewable energy. This adds R200 000 to the price. If it gives four people a permanent livelihood, then that means about R80 000 per livelihood.”Fleming said the farm could be stocked with tilapia, a hardy fish that feeds on phytoplankton, a microscopic plant. Part of the World Wildlife Fund’s pocket guide to purchasing fish. Note that the species listed in the red with a black background are illegal to sell in South Africa. Those with an arrow have local improvement projects underway whereas those with prohibited symbols next to them are specially protected species. View the full pocket guide. (Image: WWF-SASSI) Aquaculture new to South AfricaAquaculture was still in its infancy in South Africa, said Ryan. Historically, the country’s long coastline meant it had access to large quantities of fish so there was no need for fish farming. However, with the coastline becoming increasingly exposed, the storms that repel fishermen and the demand for seafood rising, aquaculture has become more attractive.It is a relatively small industry in South Africa and in the past the government did not give it much attention. But in 2007, it began to take notice of the potential of the industry. Because of a growing shortage of traditionally harvested fish such as hake, the government invested R100-million in aquaculture projects in all four of the country’s coastal provinces.Government again showed its dedication to aquaculture when President Jacob Zuma launched Operation Phakisa in July this year. It will look to unlock the growth potential of the country’s coastline, which is in line with the National Development Plan.The operation will implement policies and programmes faster and more effectively. As a result, Zuma said it can unlock the ocean’s potential to contribute up to R177-billion to the country’s GDP and create as many as one-million direct jobs.Aquaculture is a big part of that plan. According to Zuma, government recognises the industry as a way of contributing to food security since it has shown strong growth of 6.5% per year. Operation Phakisa will look to grow all segments of the aquaculture industry, especially by creating jobs within processing and marketing.Even with this investment, however, South Africa lags way behind the rest of the world. According to experts Cécile Brugère and Neil Ridler, the world’s aquaculture sector has grown at an annual rate of 9.2% since 1973, and is projected to grow at 4.5% until 2030. Global returns for commercial fish farming recorded by the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation in 2008 totalled 33.8-million tons, worth about US$60-billion (approximately R667-billion).Despite aquaculture’s advantages, the wild capture sector remains fishery’s biggest contributor. According to the WWF-SA, wild capture fisheries include commercial, recreational and subsistence fisheries. It estimated about 500 000 people fished recreationally in South Africa, with the value of that industry placed around R3-billion in 2011. Also, commercially caught line fish was about 16 000 tons, which placed huge pressure on those species. The conservation group said 23% of South Africa’s key commercial fish resources were over-exploited. For Oceanwise chief executive, Liam Ryan, the best story to come out of the company is that of job creation. It employs 115 workers from impoverished areas of East London, all of whom had to learn new skills since joining the company. (Image: Industrial Development Corporation) A regulated industrySince the fish at Oceanwise were harvested in tanks there was no risk of escapees, said Ryan. And because they are in a protected environment, they have an advantage over those in the wild that are vulnerable to predators. Oxygen is supplemented, which means only the purest oxygen is generated. They feed on a formulated pellet that is based on natural proteins and minerals that the kabeljou need.Since the aquaculture industry is regulated, the fish at Oceanwise have to be tagged. This serves various purposes, one of them being that a fish can be traced back to the tank from where it came. Tags can also help identify males from females.Under government regulations, fish have to be protected from intermingling with similar breeds from other regions. Therefore, eggs and fingerlings from East London have to be harvested in the city. “When we supply fish to the market there is a code on every box and delivery note that says it comes from this facility,” said Ryan. “So the industry is quite protected and regulated.”The University of Stellenbosch is also helping Oceanwise by banking fish DNA. This can help to determine from which parent a fish comes. New careers and jobsThough aquaculture is punted as the future of fishery, Ryan claims that it is still considered high risk in terms of the cost that goes into setting up a farm. The IDC’s funding of Oceanwise amounted to R22-million. But the social benefits of setting up Oceanwise in East London outweigh the costs of running the facility. Not only has the farm reduced human impact on the seas, but it has also created jobs for those desperate for an income.Most of Oceanwise’s 115 workers came from impoverished backgrounds and entered the company unskilled. Some of them were school leavers whose hope for the future was quickly diminishing. “Most of these young people joined Oceanwise as unskilled casual labour,” said Ryan. “They were brought in to support the construction and early development of Oceanwise’s facilities.”But their interest in learning about aquaculture, water sciences and kabeljou over the past five years has allowed the workers to carve aquaculture careers for themselves. “This is development at its best, with a life-changing impact on these young people and their families’ lives… This type of personal growth opportunity for young individuals is rare. Since it is a new industry with a need for new specialist skills, there is a greater than normal opportunity for internal promotion and career development.”last_img read more

Lovely 20Pcs Wedding Bridal Pearl Flower Rhinestone Crystal Hair Clip Pins Bridesmaid : Very pretty though.

first_imgSoooo quite and well worth just about every penny. Fast supply way too which intended they arrived in time for prom and the hairdo appeared remarkable.These types of good value for income, extremely sturdy and sparkly for my wedding day.Lovely 20Pcs Wedding Bridal Pearl Flower Rhinestone Crystal Hair Clip Pins BridesmaidPackage included: 20PCS Hair PinsMaterial: Alloy, Rhinestone and Artificial pearlHairpin Size: 7cm/ 2.76” (Approx.)They truly awesome and strong pleased with them. They came properly in advance of the dated said,.Seemed breathtaking in the brides and bridesmaids. Appeared amazing in the brides and bridesmaids hair.These are truly rather and fantastic for myself and my bridesmaids hair. These are seriously very and ideal for myself and my bridesmaids hair, can wait for my hair trail to see how they seem.Lovely 20Pcs Wedding Bridal Pearl Flower Rhinestone Crystal Hair Clip Pins Bridesmaid : Look very pretty and great for the price but the tops fall off, they are very delicate. These pins are extremely rather, nevertheless i requested them in june 2015 and only recieved them in january 2016,,,.Ideal for what they are desired for.Wonderful product but they do take the full estimate tie to get there.Fantastic purchase speedy supply and glimpse much more expensive than they are.Terrific product just as marketed, very pretty will be purchasing far more.These are truly really and just what i needed, only issue is they had been in a flimsy plastic pot in a jiffy bag. The pot was totally crushed and a few of the pins were damaged, all the diamond and pearls had appear off.Just what required and arrived ahead of supply date xxx.Pins were a little bit larger that i envisioned, so that was a bonus.I am really pleased with my bridal pearl flower hair pins, so quite, valeria.Pins quite very long but my daughter enjoys them.Lovely hair parts, looked wonderful in my daughters hair as a bridesmaid, fantastic value for dollars. Great products powerful durable hair parts.Lovely pins, one trouble was that 1 pearl came off but glued it back on & its great.Buy does get a even though to get there but seemed lovely in my bridesmaids hair.Looks just the similar as shots. Appears to be like specifically the identical as pictures.These tiny pins in which excellent substantially nicer than i however.They are attractive and arrived before day offered and will search good on my large working day.last_img read more

Laguna de los Tres: Maya-treasure-06 — Geocache of the Week

first_imgThe plains of Patagonia are boundless, for they are scarcely passable, and hence unknown: they bear the stamp of having lasted, as they are now, for ages, and there appears no limit to their duration through future time.” – Charles DarwinAn enchanting, semi-arid plateau with glacier-encrusted Andean peaks, Patagonia is an adventure seeker’s dream destination. Travelers journey to the region for its iconic vistas, and vibrant wildlife, but stay for the delicious Malbecs and rugged gauchos. The Patagonian town of El Chaltén is named for local peak Cerro Fitz Roy’s Tehuelche name, meaning ‘peak of fire’ or ‘smoking mountain’. Once you arrive in El Chaltén you will find colorful buildings made of corrugated steel, built to withstand the harsh Patagonian weather conditions including forceful winds that will knock you off your feet. Traditional geocache GC5TQT9 will lead you to El Chaltén, where you will begin your journey to the cache location.You’ll want to allow about 8 hours to complete the full trip to Laguna de los Tres and back. There’s also the option to make it into a multi-day trek with two different overnight camping sites along the way: Camping Laguna Capri and Campamento Poincenot. The last 1.5 kilometers of the hike are very steep and exposed, so many hikers choose to camp below at Campamento Poincenot and then push for a sunrise view of Cerro Fitz Roy. Once you arrive at Laguna de los Tres, feast your eyes on the cobalt blue waters glowing before the magnificent peak of Cerro Fitz Roy and take in 360 degree views of the entire mountain range. If the weather takes a turn for the worse, which is a very real possibility, there are plenty of boulders to seek shelter underneath and search for the geocache.This geocache is part of an amazing series that cache owner CacheGert created for his daughter. He hopes to pass his love for traveling on to her by hiding caches for her in all parts of the world. When she turns 18, he will give her a list of all “her” caches, along with an airline ticket to wherever she wants to go. CacheGert is lucky enough to visit this cache often since he travels to Argentina for work.¡Qué copado! (How cool!) Recent logs:redgeccoWhat a hike, what a view! Starting in El Chalten, first part is easy. Well maintained hiking paths, beautiful landscape and the FitzRoy in the background. The last 1,5 km you have to climb uphill, the path is also well marked, but steep. The wind blows you away, the knees hurt … but if you reached the edge, this breathtaking view makes you forget everything. We made a little break, enjoyed the amazing scenery and as an extra we get the box! Finally we had around 24 km and 1400 m altitude difference on our GPS. Probably our best hiking tour ever, thanks for hiding a cache there. Of course a favorite point from us, redgecco mach401What an amazing view of one of the most beautiful mountains I’ve ever seen. I arrived just before sunset on a perfect weather day and watched the evening shadows crawl across the lake. Wish I could stay longer, but since my time in Chalten is limited, I dropped off a geocoin instead. May it travel farther and longer than me!GaiemoQuite a hike, especially at the end of a full day trip to Lago Torres, Lago del Madre y Hija and finally up here. But the place with the spectacular view is more than worth the effort! Great place for a cache! Thank you for putting one here! Greetings from Switzerland, we will be back 🙂 Location:El Chaltén, ArgentinaS 49° 16.806 W 072° 59.031 TraditionalGC5TQT9by CacheGert Continue to explore some of the most amazing geocaches around the world.Check out all of the Geocaches of the Week on the Geocaching blog. If you would like to nominate a Geocache of the Week, fill out this form.Share with your Friends:More Difficulty:1.5Terrain:4 SharePrint RelatedGeocaching country souvenir: ArgentinaDecember 4, 2017In “Community””Glaciar Perito Moreno – Patagonia” GC1JPHG GEOCACHE OF THE WEEK – May 23, 2011May 23, 2011In “Community”Green Lotus Peak GCE866 GEOCACHE OF THE WEEK – June 4, 2012June 4, 2012In “Community”last_img read more

Smart lightbulbs could be exporting your personal data to China

first_img 5 Share your voice Now playing: Watch this: 3:16 7 ways smart home devices can help you sleep better Tags Comments Smart lightbulb at CES 2019. David Becker / Getty Images Today, you can operate almost everything in your house from your phone. But, like most technology, nothing is perfect. While smart lightbulbs themselves aren’t dangerous, the apps and platforms that control them might be. Last month, Dark Cubed, an American cybersecurity company, released its State of IoT Security report and detailed potential security threats in smart home devices. Dark Cubed said it purchased several in-home smart devices that can be found at Walmart, Amazon, Best Buy or other stores and tested their security. While the company said that it wasn’t surprising that most of the apps weren’t secure, the IoT (Internet of Things) lightbulbs were even worse. According to Dark Cubed, simply dimming your smart lightbulb could be enabling real-time location sharing. “What was surprising was the fact that some of these devices, such as the IoT lightbulb, were so insecure that it is beyond what could be considered a mistake,” Dark Cubed reported. “We found that the extent to which the manufacturers and infrastructure associated with these devices communicate with, or is related to, China is shocking and has significant national security implications.”The company also noted that while most IoT devices are manufactured in China, some of the tested devices and their companion apps were secure and didn’t share data.”Unfortunately, consumers have no ability to differentiate between the safe and the dangerous devices given the lack of focus on security by retailers,” Dark Cubed said in its report. Mobile Securitylast_img read more

Mysterious UFO filmed in skies of Russia conspiracy theorists call it hologram

first_imgYouTube: MavixxxPopular conspiracy theory YouTube channel ‘Mavixxx’ has recently uploaded a very mysterious video that shows a partly cloaked UFO hovering in the skies of Russia. According to the YouTube channel, the footage was captured on August 18, 2019, by a local resident named Tsigarev.The UFO spotted in broad daylight can be seen moving very slowly in the skies and at times, it eerily changes its shape. As the video went viral on YouTube, conspiracy theorists who analyzed the video assured that this is a proof of hologram technology tested as a part of Project Bluebeam.These conspiracy theorists outlandishly claim that Project Bluebeam is a secret mission carried out by the elites to establish a new world order. They believe that the next stage of this secretive mission will be a false alien invasion intended to mislead the general public.A section of other conspiracy theorists argues that the UFO spotted in the Russian skies could be a cloaked alien ship or a secretive military vessel. These alien enthusiasts believe that extraterrestrial from deep space has been visiting the earth for hundreds of thousands of years, and cave paintings featuring skymen and flying objects are authentic proof of their existence.However, skeptics believe that the video uploaded by ‘Mavixxx’ is a hoax and the UFO featured in the clip is generated with the help of computer graphics. Some other people argued that the UFO in the video could be actually a balloon moving in the course of the wind. A few days back, Mavixxx had uploaded another video that showed an unidentified flying object hovering very near to a tornado. After watching the video, viewers of the YouTube channels suggested that aliens might be using tornadoes and bolts of lightning to reap energy.last_img read more

Feds No More Education Legal Services For Immigrant Kids

first_imgWilfredo Lee/AP/FileIn this April 19, 2019 file photo, migrant children play soccer at the Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children on Good Friday in Homestead, Fla. The government has stopped reimbursing some contracted shelters for the cost of teaching immigrant children English-language courses and providing legal services and recreational activities. The Health and Human Services department notified shelters around the country recently that it was not going to reimburse them for teachers’ pay or other costs.The federal government has stopped paying for English-language courses and legal services at facilities that hold immigrant children around the country, imposing budget cuts it says are necessary at a time when record numbers of unaccompanied children are arriving at the border.The Health and Human Services department notified shelters around the country last week that it was not going to reimburse them for teachers’ pay or other costs such as legal services or recreational equipment. The move appears to violate a legal settlement known as the Flores agreement that requires the government to provide education and recreational activities to immigrant children in its care.But the agency says it doesn’t have the funding to provide those services as it deals with a soaring number of children coming to the U.S., largely from Central America.It’s now up to the various nonprofit and private organizations run facilities for the children to cover the cost of teachers, supplies, legal services and even recreational activities and equipment — if they can, or choose to.BCFS, a nonprofit provider in several Texas cities, said in a statement that it would continue providing services because not doing so would violate state licensing standards. It said it will use emergency funding from its parent organization. “The health and well-being of those in our care are of the utmost importance and we hope there is a rapid resolution to this funding issue,” spokeswoman Evy Ramos said.The government says it currently has 13,200 children in its care, and more are coming. The Border Patrol said Wednesday that 11,500 children crossed the border without a parent just last month. The kids are transferred to the care of Health and Human Services after the Border Patrol processes them. Health and Human Services contracts out their care and housing to nonprofits and private companies.“As we have said, we have a humanitarian crisis at the border brought on by a broken immigration system that is putting tremendous strain (on the agency),” spokeswoman Evelyn Stauffer said. “Additional resources are urgently required to meet the humanitarian needs created by this influx – to both sustain critical child welfare and release operations and increase capacity.”Health and Human Services is seeking nearly $3 million in emergency funding to cover more beds and provide basic care.An official at one of the shelter providers said the government notified them on May 30 that they wouldn’t be reimbursing costs of providing education and other activities. The providers pay for things like teacher salary upfront and are then reimbursed by the government.The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the matter, said his employer was scrambling to figure out how it would cover the cost of teachers. The provider hasn’t laid anyone off, but worries about children who desperately need to learn English and be intellectually stimulated.Advocates are also worried about the ramifications of cutting recreational activities. Funding cuts may result in physical education coordinators from being let go and in a lack of adults who can supervise children playing outside.“The kids are inside 23 hours, and the hour they spend outside is a real lifeline for them,” said J.J. Mulligan, an attorney at the Immigration Law Clinic at University of California, Davis, who has visited and spoken to many of the children at the facilities. “Most of them come from Latin American countries where soccer is king, so the ability to play with their friends really brings them joy in dark circumstances.”In a memo to staff obtained by The Associated Press, Southwest Key interim CEO Joella Brooks said she was working with the government to figure out why the funding had ended and how it can continue to offer the services. Southwest Key is a nonprofit and the largest provider of shelters for immigrant children.“In the meantime, remember the service, encouragement and compassion you provide to these youth every day matters a great deal. Please continue to stay focused on taking good care of them,” Brooks wrote to her staff.U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Arizona, was critical of the cuts.“By eliminating English classes and legal aid that are critical to ensuring children successfully navigate the asylum process, the Trump Administration is essentially condemning children to prison and throwing away the key until their imminent deportation,” Grijalva, who represents a district on the border, said in a statement.___Gomez Licon reported from Miami. Associated Press journalist John Mone contributed to this report. Sharelast_img read more

Two brands two brochures Insight Luxury Gold launch 2019 lineups

first_img Cindy Sosroutomo Share Friday, October 19, 2018 Two brands, two brochures: Insight & Luxury Gold launch 2019 lineups TORONTO — You can never accuse The Travel Corporation (TTC) of resting on its laurels. Following a highly successful summer 2018 season, its Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold brands are already gearing up for 2019 with brand new brochures, both of which are being called their biggest collections yet.Speaking to Travelweek at Toronto’s launch event yesterday, Insight Vacations’ CEO, Ulla Hefel Böhler, said that the company’s product offering has never been better after 40 years of business. Highlighted in its 230-page Europe & Britain 2019 brochure, Insight will travel to over 40 countries on 96 journeys and offer more than 70 Insight Experiences, which are characterized by authentic dining, stylish accommodations and small groups sizes.New for next year is the 10-day ‘Northern Lights of Scandinavia’ itinerary, which includes a meet and greet with the owner of a husky farm, visits to Akershus Castle and the Royal Palace in Oslo, and a stay at the glass-roofed Aurora Village in Ivalo for the chance to view the Northern Lights from the comfort of one’s own bed.Scandinavia, said Böhler, has always been popular for Insight during the summer months, but the company is now pushing it as a winter destination, too, that offers much more than just the Northern Lights. And because there are limited departures for ‘Northern Lights’, Böhler anticipates that it will sell out quickly.This is all the more reason for agents to push for early bookings, said Brad Ford, President of Insight Vacations. “We’re telling travellers to not wait because you run the risk of not getting the journey of your choice,” he said. Insight’s Early Booking Bonus includes 10% off and runs until Jan. 31, 2019.Also expected to sell well next year is a new 10-day Greek Island Hopper tour (“a great standalone itinerary” according to Ford), the newly enhanced ‘Jordan Experience’ (now featuring an overnight in Wadi Rum and a visit to the Iraq Al-Amir Women’s Cooperative), as well as Egypt, which Böhler said is making a big comeback for the company.More news:  Sunwing ready to launch Mazatlán-Quebec City direct this winter“We’ve been seeing so much business to Egypt, and we’re excited to say that numbers are finally coming back,” she said, adding that during a recent trip to the country, she was amazed by the sparse crowds and short lineups. “It’s much less crowded than it was before, now is definitely the time to go.”Luxury Gold, which also offers Egypt, is anticipating another stellar year with its brand new Worldwide 2019 brochure. Featuring 55 itineraries (up from 48), the brochure offers “the best of independent travel and guided vacations,” said Brett Tollman, CEO of The Travel Corporation. The brand, a collection of high-end travel experiences that has been personally curated by TTC chairman (and Brett’s father) Stanley Tollman, was launched five years ago to bring back the golden era of travel.“My father’s vision for Luxury Gold came about after seeing the success of Red Carnation Hotels and Uniworld (TTC’s high-end hotel and river cruise brands). He thought, ‘Why not do the same for land offerings?’” he told Travelweek.In addition to upscale accommodations, gourmet dining, and 40-pax maximum group sizes (with some select journeys capping at 16 and even less, now with its new Group Travel and Bespoke Journeys department), Tollman highlighted Luxury Gold’s Travelling Concierge as one of the brand’s differentiating pillars, whose sole duty is to customize trips to create a unique experience for each client.With such elevated touches, he described Luxury Gold as “the best of two worlds” (a hybrid of FIT travel and guided touring), and went so far as to put the brand above competitors A&K and Tauck. The difference, he said, is that Luxury Gold is much more agent focused.“We don’t do consumer marketing, we rely heavily on our agent partners,” he said. The company’s personal guarantee is to never steal a customer, which is backed up by its Travel Wallet program. According to Tollman, 90% of its business is repeat clients who go back to the travel agent to book. “For the other 10% who come directly to us, we’ll still pay full commission to the original agent, even if they had nothing to do with the booking.”More news:  FIVE FESTIVE FOODS TO TRY AT EUROPE’S CHRISTMAS MARKETSAnd with Luxury Gold packages priced anywhere from $8,000-$10,000 – times two per booking – “the commissions are amazing,” he said.Another value to agents is client testimonials, which are posted to TTC’s websites via third party platform Feefo. Clients are encouraged to provide post-trip feedback via email, which is then posted “with no interference from us,” said Tollman. “Consumers want validation from other consumers. By reading these reviews, they can book with 100% confidence.”And although the volume of bookings for Luxury Gold is nowhere near that of Insight Vacations’, there’s room to grow, he added.“Even though our numbers are still relatively small, we’ve grown exponentially over the past five years,” he said. “There’s plenty of capacity to grow further, which is why we need agent support.”For more information go to insightvacations.com and luxurygoldvacations.com. About Latest Posts Cindy SosroutomoDeputy Editor at TravelweekCindy is Deputy Editor at Travelweek and has worked for the company since 2007. She has travelled to more than 50 countries and counts Kenya, Morocco, Thailand and Turkey among her favourite destinations. Latest posts by Cindy Sosroutomo (see all) Frustrations mount over elusive consumer-pay model: Will it ever happen? – July 16, 2019 “It’s in everyone’s best interest to stay open”: Beaches Turks & Caicos will not close in 2021 – May 15, 2019 Putting “Partners First”: NCL’s CEO lauds agents and the new Norwegian Joy – April 29, 2019 Tags: Insight Vacations, Luxury Gold, The Travel Corporation << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted bylast_img read more